General Electric Co.'s energy unit will pay $603 million for a stake in Regency Energy Partners LP, an owner of natural gas pipelines and storage equipment.

Under the deal with HM Capital Partners LLC, GE Energy Financial Services has acquired an estimated 37 percent of Regency's limited-partner units outstanding, the Journal said.

The transaction also gives GE Energy Financial Services a 91 percent stake in Regency's general partner, meaning GE will have operational control of the company.

This is a platform for us to build on, GE Energy Financial Services spokesman Ken Koprowski said. We'll be looking at new assets and growing Regency organically with their top notch management team.

Private equity firm HM Capital Partners helped take Regency public last year and affiliates of HM Capital have retained stakes in Regency, according to the report.

(Additional reporting by Nick Zieminski)